David Wild, one of the show’s four main writers, opened up about the show in a new interview with The Ringer on Wednesday (April 14).
“It was like the world’s most uncomfortable blind date between the cool rocker stoner kid and the adorable theater camp cheerleader,” he said.
David had recalled one moment that happened during rehearsals and Anne had suggested James try something a bit differently “and he was like, ‘Don’t tell me how to be funny.’”
Click inside to read more of what David Wild revealed about Anne Hathaway and James Franco’s awkward time hosting the Oscars…
Anne and James were brought in as hosts of the ceremony to appeal to the younger generation, but most hardly remember it at all.
There was one moment where David said that he thought James and Anne had broken through the awkwardness, however, it turned out to be something else entirely.
“I thought, ‘Oh boy, they’ve finally broken through and he’s looking at her!’” he said, adding, “Anne had gone to her dressing room for a minute…James was smiling at her stand-in.”
Another writer, and the director Jordan Rubin, revealed that it turned out to be a challenge to get in touch with James at certain times.
“Anne made herself readily available. I went to her house and worked on the script and she was on a bunch of conference calls and responding to emails and was a great collaborator,” he shared, before adding that James always “seemed to be on a flight, and it was very hard for me to get a hold of him. That was a red flag…[it seemed that he] wanted to play it as a buddy-cop movie with two opposite characters.”
James, at the time, had been balancing an acting career and taking doctoral classes at Yale University while also earning a master’s degree at New York University and teaching at Columbia College Hollywood in Los Angeles.
In previous interviews, James and Anne have both spoken about the hosting duties.
“I said, ‘Let’s just do it. It’ll be an adventure,’” James told New York Magazine, emphasizing that he convinced Anne to do it with him. “Then we got a lot of s*** for it. I probably got more than she did, but she got a lot.”
Anne, in speaking with THR, said that she has no regrets about the hosting gig.
“I went into it with a lot of trust and a lot of hope, and I had a blast doing it,” she said. “And I realized afterwards, I played to the house; it’s a 3,500-seat theater, so I was just shooting energy to the back of it and it was like a party! It was great! And I think it looked slightly manic and ‘hyper-cheerleadery’ onscreen. But I have no regrets about doing it.”
The 2021 Oscars, happening on April 25, will have no hosts and instead will feature an “ensemble cast” of 15 presenters.